Back at the end of May, Facebook became a hot topic for public discourse after refusing to remove or identify factually incorrect and potentially dangerous posts around racism, violence and the upcoming fall election. Even in spite of the ongoing daily protests demanding justice for Black Lives Matter & George Floyd, the social media titan made it clear that it would not be an “arbiter of truth” or limit the reach or exposure of said posts. As marketers, we’ve seen how both COVID-19 and the BLM movement have impacted consumer behavior & brand loyalty, and the public reaction to Facebook’s lack of action has been no different.
On June 17th groups including the ADL, Color of Change, NAACP, Sleeping Giants and Free Press, banded together to officially launch the #StopHateforProfit campaign. Their goal has been to encourage brands, agencies & marketers to move their ad spends from all Facebook-owned properties to other channels for distribution; effectively taking away the primary source of revenue in which Facebook earns 99% of its annual $70 billion profit. Their demands are relatively simple – more accountability as to what content ads are paired to be seen with, the language and topics discussed or disputed (i.e. Holocaust denial), remove groups and pages that incite racial and social violence, as well as provide immediate resources for individuals being harassed on the platform.
In addition to aiding in the fight against systemic oppression, what else can marketers accomplish by switching up their social strategies for the remainder of 2020? First and foremost, utilize this new data to take a closer look at where & how marketing budgets are spent. The overarching goal of digital campaigns should be focused on a larger business outcome or tangible ROI benchmark – use this shift in strategy to take a deep dive on what types of content, messaging, and platform distribution are resonating most with your consumer today. Then, leverage this content marketing data to continue making informed decisions about what digital strategies are best to meet the desired outcomes for each area of business.
Major corporations like The North Face, Pfizer, Starbucks, Honda, and hundreds more at this point have pledged to stop all advertising on Facebook’s platforms through the end of July (if not longer). Many agencies have also taken the pledge to cease advertising on Facebook for all clients; and inPowered applauds the companies making a clear commitment to fight against racism through their financial actions and strong statements of support:
The first agency to join the campaign sent shockwaves through the industry when they announced on June 24th that they would stop advertising on Facebook for the entire month of July. Goodby Silverstein is owned by the Omnicom Group, and has a massive roster of clients including (but not limited to) BMW, HP, PayPal, Pepsi, Doritos and Adobe. Their statement on Twitter was simple and clear: “We are taking this action to protest the platform’s irresponsible propagation of hate speech, racism, and misleading voter information. We encourage clients and our own people to join us.”
While Red Door recently joined the boycott at the beginning of July, their vocal support towards Black Lives Matter and fostering diverse work cultures. A letter written by their CEO, titled “Racism Has No Place in Our Society,” has had a permanent home at the top of their website since late May; and promotes having an honest, consumer-facing conversation as to how each company can be more inclusive for all races, genders and human beings.
The global marketing brand is very familiar with fighting for social justice and was quick to pledge its support for #StopHateforProfit. One of the company’s core values states that: “We believe there is no force more powerful than people taking collective action on the things they care about,” and Blue State actively works to reinforce this in all that they do. They even created a specific landing page to provide more information on the boycott against Facebook and encourage other businesses to follow suit. We couldn’t agree more with this statement made by Blue State: “As marketers, we have a responsibility to invest in and utilize platforms that put people first and to protect and defend our colleagues, audiences, and partners.”
As the boycott continues to show no end in near sight, inPowered hopes to continue providing up-to-date, comprehensive information about the #StopHateforProfit campaign and its impact on the industry; in the hopes of helping all marketers make more informed decisions about achieve their larger business goals without sacrificing integrity or human decency.